How many sea turtles did we release this pawikan season 3?

As the wet season rolls in along the coast of The Philippines, so does the pawikan breeding season come to an end. It is at once fast and slow. Honestly, until now I am amazed at how long this third season was. We were releasing sea turtle hatchlings up until May!

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It’s hard to be an adult in a natural history museum

Visiting Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt brought back plenty of childhood memories, of being 10 years old and going on educational tours with my family. I remember waking up at dawn and boarding these big busses to Manila with 200 other children, being queasy and terribly car sick along the way and quickly forgetting the discomfort once I lay my eyes on butterflies, gardens, science exhibits, or what have you that we were seeing that day. I was filled with wonder in this way that only a child could experience.

Now all grown up, seeing the exhibits at Senckenberg first washed me with sadness, followed by curiosity and lots of questions.

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Falling in love with Maastricht happens like this

Heavy rains led us from Brussels all the way to Maastricht. I imagined a huge rain cloud above covering the bordering countries of Belgium and The Netherlands, like a never-ending dough of rolled out cinnamon roll except it is made of rain, not butter. We thought we’d stop by on our drive back home, even if it meant another early rise and on a Sunday.

Markus knows this city because he did his graduate studies here. It was fun to hear him talk about the streets, how he lived, and were the cool shops used to be. He said not much has changed in Maastricht and I suppose that is a good thing because I like this place despite the cold, gray, and rainy day.

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The couple that travels together, grows together

Our trip to Belgium a few weeks back would have never been possible a year ago, not because of any logistics issue, but simply because we lacked the spirit for it. The conditions were not ideal, but it was easily one of our most solid trips in a while. At the end of it, we were proud of ourselves, seeing how much we have grown.

It was very last minute, only a short trip with an early rise, 5-hour drive, and horrid weather throughout the long weekend. Also, the only place we could find is a room in an apartment shared with the owner. Most likely, we would have tried a different location a year ago or just cancel the trip altogether. But I am really glad we went for it!

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Thank you for 22,855 turtles swimming in the sea

I am one of the few lucky people in the world who has seen over a thousand sea turtle hatchlings crawl towards the sea in one go, suddenly changing the color of the coast, their small, fragile flippers leaving distinctive marks on the sand – living art in itself – but try as I might, it is very hard to imagine what it’s like to see over 20,000 of them swimming in the ocean right now, having an adventure of a lifetime. All thanks to you, of course, who adopted them as eggs and gave them that 1% chance of survival!

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Two ocean adventures and lots of fun in the sun

Check out our backyard! Well, more like backwater. About 10-15 minutes by boat from the tiny house is this gem of a coastline with clear emerald waters, fun cliff jumps, and rock pools filled with colorful marine animals and cool plantlife.

I remember coming here a lot with my father as a child and I still enjoy it many years later. We made this trip earlier this month with my sister and it was so much fun – sunny but cool, water with ambient temperature, and we had the place all to ourselves!

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Life updates from The Philippines

28 C with a lovely breeze – January is really the best month to be in The Philippines. It is not boiling but it is sunny, plants are green and happy, and the sea turtles are a dream.

It was busy at the tiny house to start, mainly updating flood damage from the last wet season. We were flooded five times, the first time ever. Yes, it is climate crisis in your face, but even more, how irresponsible coastal development affects the entire community around it.

This bothers me a lot because there are many homes around the tiny house frequently underwater, too. For us, the tiny house is a holiday home and while the flood is a nuisance, it does not disrupt our lives greatly and we can deal with it.

But how about all the families living near the tiny house? Their kids, their belongings, their lives? Should they just get used to these floods drowning everything after nearby developments messed up the natural waterways?

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What we’ll do in 2023

We are very grateful for 2022 and all the experiences it has brought. It kind of feels like two years have already passed actually and we are looking forward to a more grounded and purposeful new year.

Our life has been in transition in recent years and most of our time has been devoted to housekeeping. This time, we feel we are ready to return focus on things that bring us joy, a kind of recentering and anchoring, if you will.

Following are some ideas we wish to bring into 2023, a rough list on what we hope to do to add more smiles, calm, and space into our life.

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Thank you for adopting 1,797 pawikan eggs, dear blog friends

We’ve been doing this together for three years now and your support continue to move us every time. To everyone who adopted pawikan nests from our previous post, a big thank you in behalf of the sea turtles and our small community of volunteers! You may not be physically present with us but you are part of this family in every way.

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These beautiful hawksbill sea turtles will steal your heart

Pawikan conservation in our little town of Pag-asa, Bagac, Bataan continues and this third season presented us all with early Christmas presents: stunning hawksbill sea turtle hatchlings!

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